What Is There to Love About Today?

What is there to love about today? Well, on first glance, not much.

Our 4yr old woke up at 3:30am ready to be up for the day. (Daylight savings time anyone?) Someone backed into our van yesterday so I’m dealing with all that. My husband is out for work this week. And now, I’m tired. What IS there to love about today?

There’s always something. I’ve been listening to Kate Bowler’s podcast “Everything Happens” while I clean up after the kids go to bed.  She and her guests are heartfelt and funny and living grief in all kinds of different ways.

But tonight, while picking up and exhausted and listening I was thinking about my own perspective. About what I hold dear and what I do with my time and what love is and why it matters. (You know, all light things to think about.)

I am reminded that there is no place like the present to begin.

So what is there to love about today…here’s a short list…

…My son is anxious about his standardized testing and he chose to talk to me about it.

…My daughter has already finished 2 books we got from the library just yesterday and was excited to share with me that they are based on the authors real life and that maybe one day she can creatively share about her life.

…My (more than exhausted) 4 year old managed to follow through on a few tasks. It seems small but late toddlerhood is not for the faint of heart and any obedience is delightful.

…My daughter made us all laugh when I went to tuck her in and said their room smelled weird.  She started belly laughing and said “MOM!  It’s because we FART when we go to sleep!” Well, okay then. (And also, can you please make sure you aren’t hiding dirty clothes anywhere all the same.)

…Our baby girl has so many words, but today she asked to sit and when I went to sit her next to me she chose my lap instead. I know these days are numbered and I was grateful to hold her there.

So, even when we are tired, and spent and crabby and too self focused, we can always stop and choose something else. Something lovely.

I love this quote from Mary Oliver…

It is what I was born for –
to look, to listen
to lose myself
inside this soft world –
to instruct myself
over and over…

And so…I begin again…seeking that which is love and lovely.


What’s Underneath? A Review and Reflection

Brave Moms Brave Kids Review

I am not a scaredy cat mom. Part of that is my personality and part of it is life experience. I’ve seen again and again that fear does not grow hope so I’ve run toward hope boldly more often than not.

So, as I sat down to read Lee Nienhuis’ debut book “Brave Moms, Brave Kids” I was on the fence about this being a book for me but also longing for some encouragement as I strive to be the best mom to my 5 kiddos that I can be. In a world of normalized violence, easy being idolized and the pursuit of more being embraced, we all need words of affirmation to keep running boldly toward hope.

Encouragement was found here. There are two kinds of “mom books” those that tell you how to mom in a three step process and those that give you foundations and principles. This book has a little bit of both.

For the mom who desires more of a directive, Part Three “The Noble Work” is exactly what you are looking for. Here Lee gives great ideas on everything from growing your child’s knowledge about God to giving them the framework to have good relationships. This is a good jumping off point to go from foundational framework to simple, practical implementation such as

“I challenge you to ready the book of Daniel with you kids, asking the question with every paragraph: What did Daniel know about God?”

But for the mom, like me, who is looking for something more, I would challenge you to consider the state of your own heart. Perhaps it isn’t fear that makes motherhood discouraging and exhausting? For me I’ve discovered that my desire for control and my own pride and impatience hold me back from leading my kids well.

In the opening of the book I reflected on this idea…

“Unresolved tension leads us to feel in our very marrow how far we’ve traveled from where we are supposed to be.”

Whether your tension be fear, insecurity, pride or control Brave Moms, Brave Kids may be the vivid reminder many of us moms need to begin again. To quietly and reflectively call us back to the ‘Rock that is Higher than I’ so that we may send the children we love out into the world knowing who they love and who they are loved by.


Want to hear more? Lee made a book intro video!


*This book was received from the publisher as an Advanced Reader Copy. All opinions are my own.

WDIDT: Couch Surfing #Write31Days

#Write31Days. 1 Topic, 31 Days, Lots of Thoughts.  This year I am reflecting on one small moment a day and why it mattered (or didn’t!). What did I do today?


After a lovely morning at church and a relaxing lunch the little kids were off to bed and just my 7 year old and I were up.

A lot of time I use Sunday afternoons for “catch up”. Laundry, a project around the house or prepping for the work week ahead.

Today, I looked around and what really needed tending to was my daughter.

Lately, she and I have been talking about communication. Specifically, how we tell those that love us that we need a little bit more love. I wanted to remind her before she asked.

So, we got on our comfy clothes, cuddled upon the couch and turned on “Treehouse Masters”.

Besides being amazing to watch, it was fun to watch different families build different treehouses for different reasons.

That’s what I feel like her and I have been doing lately. I’ve been seeing her more for who she is, what kind of person she wants to be and why she wants be that.

She is a different girl with a different dream for different reasons. I want to love that girl.

As I sat there with my daughter I was really glad that this is how we were spending our day. Dreaming, cuddling and couch surfing.

How did you connect with someone today?

WDIDT: Examples #Write31Days

#Write31Days. 1 Topic, 31 Days, Lots of Thoughts.  This year I am reflecting on one small moment a day and why it mattered (or didn’t!). What did I do today?


Do you ever look around your house and think ‘Man, I wish some one would _______.’

Yeah, me too.

The last couple weeks have been really busy. Between work projects and my husband being home on vacation, seasons changing, babies teething – the thing that has seemed to get away from me is my house.

It wasn’t a disaster. We all do chores and my husband has been great about keeping up on laundry and the kitchen while he’s been home. But the little things…

Dustbunnies on the stairs

Piles next to the mailslot

School papers from the last 3 weeks

Clean towels stacked at the bottom of the stairs

Bins that needed returned to the basement

When I see these things in the midst of busy days I think ‘Man, I wish someone would just sweep the stairs’ or ‘Can’t someone just throw those papers away’.

And they can, and often they do. Our kids do fairly well at managing their rooms, homework and assigned chores. But what about all the unassigned things?

Well, today, I tackled those before I did anything else. And, instead of adding to my kids to-do list on their day off school, I chose example over effort.

Sometimes our kids need to see us doing the things we often ask them to do. Our kids need to see us serving them in practical and tangible ways – with a smile on our face. Maybe every once in awhile our kids need to be invited to join us in the tasks of life without the obligation of saying yes – knowing that their presence is still welcome if they say no.

Yes, I want my kids to be self-sufficient. Yes, I would have rather been doing other things. Yes, they are big enough to help.

Yet, I want them to know what it looks like to practically be a part of a family where EVERYONE participates in big and small tasks. I don’t just drive people around, pay bills and give orders. I also organize books on the shelf so you can see them because you love to read, go through school papers and put a really excellent mark on the fridge to celebrate you, fold the living room blankets and make sure to put your most favorite one on top.

It was lovely. The little kids played with the baby and the big kids sat in the living room and chatted with me for a bit. One decided to go play outside and the other offered to help. Eventually they both found themselves helping, without being asked or told.

Today was a day of example setting. Let us show others what it looks and feels like to live loved.

Where were you an example for someone today?

WDIDT: Taco Tuesday #Write31Days

#Write31Days. 1 Topic, 31 Days, Lots of Thoughts.  This year I am reflecting on one small moment a day and why it mattered (or didn’t!). What did I do today?


I made quesadillas for dinner.

Today, I ran. Non-stop. I would have given the Energizer Bunny a run for his money. I did not intend for it to be a go go go kind of day it just happened that way.

And then dinner happened. And it was quesadillas (I even managed to make meat and non-meat options!) and tortilla chips and salsa for dinner.

I had hoped for more. I had hoped to do better. The day just got away from me.

After I nursed the baby, our daughter set the table and I put out the food. Everyone sat down and we prayed and we ate. I was tired. Worn out.

But dinner! Dinner, is like MAGIC at our house.

To have all our small people (Kids Age 9, 7, 4, 2, and 7 months) around 1 table, sharing 1 (very un-fancy) meal for almost 1 hour…that is MAGIC.

Over quesadillas I learned all about the kids author that came to school today and how shocked my son was that she was in her 70’s. I learned that our preschooler got to play in the gym (her favorite thing) but was tired ALL DAY because of it. Our toddler was trying to tell the other kids the best part of his day was school (except he doesn’t go to school) and then my 7 year old surprised us all by saying there wasn’t one part of her day she thought was hard or difficult to overcome.

We wiped out every last one of those quesadillas and we all laughed as our toddler asked for yet another huge spoonful of salsa for his chips.

So maybe it wasn’t the most delicious or nutritious meal we will have this week, but it might be one of the most memorable.

What did you have for dinner today? Who sat at your table?

Liking the “hard kids”

To say we have been in a season of hard kids would be an understatement. Some day I hope my kids look back and see how much we loved them even when it was hard.

Yet, just because I am able to love them does not mean I am able to like them.

Hear me clearly, I LOVE my kids. I have an unconditional love for these little humans that live in this house. I do hard things with them and for them and don’t look back.

But just because I sacrifice and do hard things, doesn’t mean I always like it or that my heart is always in the right place. Sometimes I am just doing the right thing to do the right thing. It is matter of the will, not a matter of the heart.

In this very hard season it has not been enough to just do the right thing. A bit of tenderness was starting to fade when I looked at my kids and I desperately wanted to get it back.

I’ve been re-reading some underlined quotes from Ann Voskamp’s 1,000 Gifts and it has started to call me back into hope…

“I want to see beauty. In the ugly, in the sink, in the suffering, in the daily, in all the days before I die, the moments before I sleep.”
Ann Voskamp

So I started a new practice, a new discipline.

Every day I am writing down 1 thing I enjoyed about each child that day.

This sounds relatively simple. Until of course you have a hard child, a hard day, haven’t had enough sleep, enough nutrition or you just can’t get your heart in the right place.

These moments I am trying to recall, to remember, aren’t grand but they are starting to make my heart more tender towards my kids, especially the hard ones.

I’m appreciating moments like a child angrily going the their room but choosing not to slam the door. A child quitting a game with their sibling instead of making it into a physical altercation. A child choosing to join us at dinner even if they were grumpy the whole time.

It isn’t a glorious discipline but perhaps by seeing a little joy in the dark places all our hearts will be changed.

“When we lay the soil of our hard lives open to the rain of grace and let joy penetrate our cracked and dry places, let joy soak into our broken skin and deep crevices, life grows. How can this not be the best thing for the world? For us?”
Ann Voskamp

Thanksgiving: Motherhood

This week I’ll be sharing with you a few short stories of things I am thankful for and why…today, Motherhood.


You know those girls you grew up with. The ones that were just naturally maternal. When you planned your imaginary grown up life they had get married, have kids, be a mom on the top of their list.

Yeah, I was not that girl, ever.

It’s okay, you can laugh. For those of you that don’t know me I have 4 kids and am expecting…it is a *little* funny…

It was shocking that my sweet husband and I ever got married. We were in the car once when we were dating and he asked me about kids and I said bluntly “I don’t know if I ever want kids.” He didn’t say a word, turned up the music and gave me the silent treatment.

He married me anyway.

10 months after our wedding I stood, hot tears streaming down my face, positive pregnancy test in hand. He grinned from ear to ear, and really, he’s never stopped.

I didn’t choose motherhood, motherhood chose me. And, I haven’t always liked it.

In the beginning I wasn’t “good” at being a mom. It was so much emotional energy. I wanted to work and eat out and have a flexible schedule, it wasn’t exactly easy working and nursing and being home at a reasonable hour so everyone could rest.

As if this hard wasn’t enough BOOM, baby #2 was coming and at 7 months pregnant I lost my full time job. With my husband having just accepted a new full time job we decided I would “take some time off” and “stay home with the kids” and “enjoy the baby” for awhile.

I’ve never really gone back to my full time, live to work life, ever. And, I am so thankful I haven’t.

Somewhere after Baby #2 my heart began to change. I was the same me. I still wasn’t “good” at the emotional side of motherhood, I still dreamed about working full time, fine dining and just one weekend without a schedule but something was different.

I was still me but maybe version 2.0.

Version 2.0 of me looked the same, sounded the same, was just as driven and still full of energy. She was just a little more compassionate. A bit more emotionally brave. A lot more tired. And, a lot more of who she was meant to be.

I’m not a great cook (although my husband says I make great reservations!), I’m an okay homemaker (okay, not really, but I have friends that help me pretend to be) and I am still learning about the emotional side of motherhood (I can help my kids with robotics but can I teach them the meaning of unconditional love).

BUT, I have learned about love. And grace. And joy. And calling.

Love is so much more than a feeling and is intricately woven into our words and thoughts and actions and gifts.

Grace is so much more than forgiveness and embraces the impossible and unconditional sides of love.

Joy is more than fun but instead a gut punching side glance from a mischievous 3 year old that reminds you that she knows she’s loved.

Calling is irrevocable. The independent, strong-willed, leader, pursuer, teacher and dreamer in me were always meant to be. Motherhood has shown me that I am who I am and it is GOOD, regardless of what people see me as.

We all arrive at Motherhood differently, this is how I arrived here. The path has not been easy or gentle on my soul but now, my soul is easy and oh so gentle on others as they tread their own motherhood paths.

Today I am thankful for Motherhood.